learning http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1173/all en-US Get Smart About Money With These 18 Free Online Courses http://www.wisebread.com/get-smart-about-money-with-these-18-free-online-courses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-smart-about-money-with-these-18-free-online-courses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_man_using_laptop.jpg" alt="Young man using laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A growing number of leading business schools and universities are offering free personal finance courses online. Why not take advantage of these sophisticated resources to grow your knowledge and take your finances to the next level? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-get-free-personal-finance-classes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Places to Get Free Personal Finance Classes</a>)</p> <p>These free online courses are sometimes known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Many are either based on university courses, or actually are the same university courses that have been offered to paying students on campus. Although you will not get credit toward a degree for taking a free class, you can certainly learn a thing or two that will help you manage your finances and become a better negotiator, entrepreneur, and investor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-continue-your-education-without-going-back-to-school?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Cheap Ways to Continue Your Education Without Going Back to School</a>)</p> <h2>1. Finance for Everyone: Smart Tools for Decision-Making</h2> <p>This <a href="https://www.edx.org/course/finance-everyone-smart-tools-decision-michiganx-fin101x-1#" target="_blank">introductory personal finance course</a> through the University of Michigan covers the basics of personal finance, teaching frameworks and methods that will better equip you to make sound everyday financial decisions.</p> <p>Time commitment: 6 weeks, 5&ndash;6 hours per week.</p> <h2>2. Behavioral Economics in Action</h2> <p>Offered through the University of Toronto, <a href="https://www.edx.org/course/behavioral-economics-action-university-torontox-be101x-0#" target="_blank">Behavioral Economics in Action</a> teaches students how economics drives consumer decisions and how to develop tools that lead to better financial decisions.</p> <p>Time commitment: 6 weeks, 4&ndash;5 hours per week.</p> <h2>3. Personal Finance</h2> <p>Purdue University offers <a href="https://www.edx.org/course/personal-finance-purduex-pn-17-2" target="_blank">Personal Finance</a>; Improve your money management by improving your understanding of key personal finance concepts such as investments, credit, and insurance.</p> <p>Time commitment: 5 weeks, 3&ndash;4 hours per week.</p> <h2>4. Analyzing Global Trends for Business and Society</h2> <p>The Wharton University of Pennsylvania offers an online course on <a href="https://www.edx.org/course/analyzing-global-trends-business-society-wharton-trends1x?source=aw&amp;awc=6798_1502742497_0d3411ef1fd94a7d7eb647004262589a&amp;utm_source=aw&amp;utm_medium=affiliate_partner&amp;utm_content=text-link&amp;utm_term=301045_https://www.class-central.com/" target="_blank">learning to understand global trends</a>, including how you can use that knowledge to make better financial decisions and investments.</p> <p>Time commitment: 7 weeks, 3&ndash;4 hours per week.</p> <h2>5. How to Start a Startup</h2> <p>With Stanford University's video course <a href="https://www.class-central.com/mooc/2572/how-to-start-a-startup" target="_blank">How to Start a Startup</a>, you'll learn the fundamentals of launching a new business; including how to develop product ideas, make sales, market products, and hire your first employees.</p> <p>Time commitment: 1,000 minutes of video.</p> <h2>6. Stocks and Bonds: Risks and Returns</h2> <p>Another Stanford video course, <a href="https://www.class-central.com/mooc/2453/stanford-openedx-stocks-and-bonds-risks-and-returns" target="_blank">Stocks and Bonds: Risks and Returns</a> covers the basics of stocks and bonds, including how value is established, what affects market prices, and what you actually get when you buy a stock or a bond.</p> <p>Time commitment: Self-paced.</p> <h2>7. Finance Theory I</h2> <p><a href="https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/sloan-school-of-management/15-401-finance-theory-i-fall-2008/" target="_blank">Finance Theory I</a>, offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, teaches you how the economy and capital markets work, including an introduction to complex investment instruments such as derivatives and options.</p> <p>Time commitment: Semester-length course.</p> <h2>8. Retail Fundamentals</h2> <p>Learning <a href="https://www.edx.org/course/retail-fundamentals-dartmouthx-rfundx-0" target="_blank">how retail works</a> can give you an advantage as a consumer. This course from Dartmouth covers the basics of how businesses select inventory and set prices to maximize profit.</p> <p>Time commitment: 4 weeks, 3&ndash;4 hours per week.</p> <h2>9. Economics of Money and Banking</h2> <p>This course from Columbia University teaches the <a href="https://www.coursera.org/learn/money-banking" target="_blank">basics of banking and monetary policy</a> and offers insight into the financial crisis of 2007&ndash;2009 from the perspective of financial institutions.</p> <p>Time commitment: 13 weeks, 5 hours per week.</p> <h2>10. Introduction to Negotiation: A Strategic Playbook for Becoming a Principled and Persuasive Negotiator</h2> <p>Negotiating effectively is one of the most effective ways to get ahead financially. This course from Yale promises to &quot;<a href="https://www.class-central.com/mooc/4336/coursera-introduction-to-negotiation-a-strategic-playbook-for-becoming-a-principled-and-persuasive-negotiator" target="_blank">help you be a better negotiator</a>&quot; by teaching tactics and tools to reach a better deal.</p> <p>Time commitment: 9-week course.</p> <h2>11. Personal &amp; Family Financial Planning</h2> <p><a href="https://www.coursera.org/learn/family-planning" target="_blank">Personal &amp; Family Financial Planning</a> from the University of Florida teaches the fundamentals of personal finance and money management including budgeting, credit, and taxes.</p> <p>Time commitment: 9-week course.</p> <h2>12. Investment Vehicles, Insurance, and Retirement</h2> <p>Khan University's <a href="https://www.khanacademy.org/economics-finance-domain/core-finance/investment-vehicles-tutorial" target="_blank">Investment Vehicles, Insurance, and Retirement</a> course teaches the basic principles that will allow you to grow your money through investments and protect your money through insurance.</p> <p>Time commitment: Self-paced.</p> <h2>13. Securing Investment Returns in the Long Run</h2> <p>In the course <a href="https://www.coursera.org/learn/investment-returns-long-run" target="_blank">Securing Investment Returns in the Long Run</a> through the University of Geneva, you'll learn about active vs. passive investing and how to evaluate the performance of your investments to achieve good long-term returns.</p> <p>Time commitment: 4 weeks, 1&ndash;3 hours per week.</p> <h2>14. Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning</h2> <p><a href="http://cat.ocw.uci.edu/oo/getPage.php?course=AR0102092&amp;lesson=001&amp;topic=1&amp;page=1" target="_blank">Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning</a> from UC Irvine aims to teach you how to set and reach your financial goals by improving your knowledge of personal finance.</p> <p>Time commitment: 30 hours.</p> <h2>15. Free Online Personal Finance Course</h2> <p>This <a href="https://cals.arizona.edu/sfcs/personalfinance/introduction.html" target="_blank">personal finance primer</a> from the University of Arizona will teach you how to navigate the perils of today's consumer economy by mastering personal finance principles.</p> <p>Time commitment: 15 hours.</p> <h2>16. Econ 252: Financial Markets</h2> <p>Become a smarter investor with this <a href="http://oyc.yale.edu/economics/econ-252-08" target="_blank">economics course</a> from Yale, which aims to help you understand the inner workings of financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, and securities markets.</p> <p>Time commitment: Semester-length course.</p> <h2>17. New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs</h2> <p>If you are thinking about starting a business, <a href="https://www.coursera.org/learn/startup-funding" target="_blank">New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs</a> from the University of Maryland will help you figure out how to fund your venture.</p> <p>Time commitment: 3&ndash;5 hours per week.</p> <h2>18. Marketing in a Digital World</h2> <p><a href="https://www.coursera.org/learn/marketing-digital" target="_blank">Marketing in a Digital World</a>, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will teach you how digital tools are revolutionizing the way products are bought and sold, and how this is providing unprecedented advantages for consumers.</p> <p>Time commitment: 4 weeks, 6&ndash;8 hours per week.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fget-smart-about-money-with-these-18-free-online-courses&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FGet%2520Smart%2520About%2520Money%2520With%2520These%252018%2520Free%2520Online%2520Courses.jpg&amp;description=Get%20Smart%20About%20Money%20With%20These%2018%20Free%20Online%20Courses"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Get%20Smart%20About%20Money%20With%20These%2018%20Free%20Online%20Courses.jpg" alt="Get Smart About Money With These 18 Free Online Courses" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-smart-about-money-with-these-18-free-online-courses">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-millennials-have-changed-money-so-far">6 Ways Millennials Have Changed Money (So Far)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals">9 Online Forums That&#039;ll Help You Reach Your Financial Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know">The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-moves-you-can-make-during-your-commute">10 Financial Moves You Can Make During Your Commute</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-manage-your-money-in-under-10-minutes-a-week">5 Online Tools to Manage Your Money in Under 10 Minutes a Week</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training entrepreneurship freebies investing learning massive open online courses money management online courses resources Tue, 03 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2028482 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ways a Professional Association Can Boost Your Career http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-a-professional-association-can-boost-your-career <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-a-professional-association-can-boost-your-career" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/group_of_business_people_in_the_office_building_lobby.jpg" alt="Group of business people in the office building lobby" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You got the degree and landed the job. Maybe, though, your career seems stalled. Are you looking for a way to move up the corporate ladder, or out of a rut? If so, maybe it's time you joined a professional association.</p> <p>What's the best thing about a professional association? <em>Networking.</em> And it's not stand-around-at-a-cocktail-party, trying-to-make-small-talk networking. Belonging to a professional association is like having an instant group of friends, with at least one similar interest: You all work in the same field.</p> <p>So, what some other reasons should you join a professional association?</p> <h2>1. It's easy to find one</h2> <p>Either Google it (i.e., &quot;pharmacist professional associations&quot;), or use this handy <a href="https://www.careeronestop.org/businesscenter/professionalassociations/find-professional-associations.aspx" target="_blank">professional association finder</a> developed by the U.S. Department of Labor. A quick search will bring you results for organizations in your career field.</p> <h2>2. You can give back to your community</h2> <p>Especially appealing to millennials, an age group that wants their work to have meaning, are opportunities for giving back. Many professional associations have subgroups that pride themselves on charitable and community-building efforts.</p> <p>You might find yourself speaking at an elementary school, helping with a trash pickup day, or fundraising for a good cause. My niece, an optometrist, participates in a professional association that raises funds for guide dogs for the blind. If your association doesn't already do good works, maybe you're the leader they need to start something.</p> <h2>3. It'll help beef up your resume</h2> <p>The more you can show a recruiter or interviewer that you're connected to your career, the better. Listing a professional association demonstrates your passion and drive, as well as your involvement in the field. Recruiters love data, and seeing something like, &quot;Co-chaired auction that raised $5,000 for guide dog program&quot; will definitely stand out. Similarly, you can use leadership roles in a professional association (&quot;Treasurer, 2017&ndash;2018: Converted organization's record-keeping to QuickBooks&quot;) to illustrate your skills.</p> <p>If your resume and cover letter skills need work, many associations also have a &quot;career resources&quot; page on their website for tips on formatting resumes and writing effective cover letters.</p> <h2>4. You'll boost your own technology skills</h2> <p>I was overwhelmed by social media until I began attending meetings of my local social media professional association. It helped me learn about the different platforms and what works best for me.</p> <p>Millennials are the generation that has most embraced technology. If that's your age group, you may find that a professional association is a place to use those technology skills and keep learning new ones.</p> <h2>5. You'll make friends</h2> <p>Remember, you already have one thing in common with people who belong to your profession's association: You work in the same field. There may be others with whom you have common interests, and you may be able to build a social support group within your new circle. I found I enjoyed a walking group with members of my professional association, and am currently interested in another group that does healthy cooking potlucks. It's a great way to bring a fun, personal element into your professional life.</p> <h2>6. They can help you find a new, or better, job</h2> <p>I work in human resources, and regularly receive emails from the Society for Human Resource Management listing job opportunities. That is the same case with most other professional associations. Many of them have job boards or announcements where companies seeking new hires can list openings. You might even come across some positions that aren't being listed elsewhere.</p> <h2>7. Educational opportunities</h2> <p>Need continuing education credits, or just need to learn how to do something new? Check with your association. If they don't offer it themselves, they may able to direct you to a source that does. Discounts may also be available, which brings us to the next point.</p> <h2>8. Discounts</h2> <p>Looking for travel, health care, or educational discounts? Your association may have some available. In addition, you'll often find discounts on websites or tools pertinent to your career field. For example, the Society of Professional Journalists offers members a 20 percent discount on a subscription to the AP Stylebook.</p> <h2>9. You'll find great material for work</h2> <p>Yes, you'll be inundated with material to read, but don't just ignore those newsletters and notices. I squirrel away the daily emails and read them in batches; the magazines I take home and peruse in my leisure. That stuff can come in handy.</p> <p>For instance, when my CEO recently said he thought our hiring process took too long, I could quote HR Magazine (April, 2017) in saying 28 days is the typical period of time between someone applying for a job and being hired ... but also that I'd look into ways we could shorten our process. In a competitive workplace, your association's reading and events will keep you ahead of the pack. Plus, let's face it &mdash; you'll sound more knowledgeable.</p> <h2>10. You can find, or be, a mentor</h2> <p>I found having a mentor to be extremely helpful in my career. Someone with vast experience in your field can give sound advice and help you stay motivated. Alternatively,<em> you</em> may be that experienced person for someone else, and it might be very rewarding for you to help a newbie. It can be a great thing to have a source outside of your own office to ask for advice.</p> <h2>11. Be active in your association</h2> <p>Sure, you can pay for the membership and do nothing, but that won't help your career much. Even if you're shy, taking on a small, manageable role in the association will help your career.</p> <p>Still on the fence? Explore your professional association's website, talk to someone who belongs about benefits, or attend a class or meeting. Once you actually get your feet wet, you may be much more eager to dive in.</p> <h2>A few things to consider</h2> <p>While professional associations can be a great boon to your career, they also have a few downsides. The first being cost: Joining a professional association often comes with a membership fee, and these can be pricey. However, if you are required to join by your employer, or pitch the idea of joining to them, they may foot the bill for you. Another potential expense to consider are meetings, which are often held at restaurants or cafes.</p> <p>Professional associations can also feel a little overwhelming at times, between the social media feeds, the association's newsletter, their calendar of events, and all the LinkedIn connections. For some organizations, there can be a deluge of information to read.</p> <p>Career-wise, however, the pros of joining a professional association outweigh the cons. If you can find and afford to join one, it can be a wonderful way to advance your professional standing.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-a-professional-association-can-boost-your-career">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-go-to-college-to-learn">Don&#039;t Go to College to Learn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-networking-tips-for-the-recently-unemployed">7 Networking Tips for the Recently Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network">11 Ways Freelancers and Telecommuters Can Make Friends and Network</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-career-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Career Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-someone-to-accept-your-linkedin-invitation">How to Get Someone to Accept Your LinkedIn Invitation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building clubs connections discounts events learning making friends networking organizations professional associations skills Tue, 06 Jun 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Marla Walters 1959134 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Unexpected Benefits of Solo Travel http://www.wisebread.com/6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/female_tourist_london_495763126.jpg" alt="Woman learning benefits of solo travel" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people are apprehensive about traveling alone, yet it can be an exhilarating experience. You get to set your own agenda, save or splurge whenever you feel the need, and you're likely to meet new people from different parts of the world. Instead of dreading that next solo trip, here are a few reasons you should look forward to it.</p> <h2>1. Enjoy total flexibility</h2> <p>Deciding where to go and what to do on your trip is harder when you have to take into account more than one person's opinion. Unless your travel companions all share exactly the same interests as you, you'll end up negotiating priorities and compromising.</p> <p>When you're traveling alone, you can make completely autonomous decisions about your agenda, and you can often change them quickly. Don't like your accommodations? You can move more easily on your own. Hear about an interesting excursion you're dying to try last-minute? You won't have to worry about spoiling someone else's plans. You're flexible to be as spontaneous as you want.</p> <p>Also, if you're traveling by plane, you won't have to agonize over finding a flight that fits into everyone's schedule, or worry about whether you'll get to sit with your group. No more paying extra for seat reservations!</p> <p>This added flexibility has the extra benefit of potentially saving you a lot of money on airfare. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds?ref=seealso">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a>)</p> <h2>2. Personalize your budget</h2> <p>Budgeting can be one of the most difficult parts of a trip, and it's even harder when you have to accommodate someone else's priorities. Traveling solo means you get to decide whether you'd like to set cash aside for some ritzy dining, or eat simply and go for nicer accommodations.</p> <p>And if you want to go completely budget, you don't have to take into account how anyone else will feel about it. Sometimes traveling alone can actually be less expensive than with a partner or group because there's no social pressure to spend on something you don't want.</p> <p>While you're planning your finances for the trip, keep in mind that having <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal">the right travel credit card</a> is an important part of the process. You can earn points toward free travel, and if you get a card that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal">doesn't charge foreign transaction fees</a>, you'll save money. Plus, a good card comes with lots of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=internal">travel perks</a> such as free checked bags and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-types-of-travel-insurance-credit-cards-include-that-you-didnt-know-about?ref=internal">travel insurance</a>.</p> <p>Don't forget to bring along a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-debit-card-on-the-road">fee-free debit card</a> as well, for easy money withdrawals from anywhere. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling">11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>3. Connect with locals</h2> <p>Undoubtedly one of the greatest benefits of solo travel is that by removing yourself from your normal social circle, you'll be more apt to strike up conversations with locals. In some cases, this can lead to a more immersive experience.</p> <p>You can use online resources like Facebook groups to help connect with locals who are interested in showing people around their area. Don't forget that the old-fashioned way of meeting people &mdash; face-to-face &mdash; still works well, too (especially if you stay off your smartphone when in public). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-like-a-local-how-to-tap-into-the-local-scene-while-traveling?ref=seealso">How to Tap Into the Local Scene While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>4. Optimize language learning</h2> <p>If one of the goals of your trip is to learn a foreign language, there's no better way to approach it than by traveling alone. When traveling with friends or family from home, you're much more likely to slip back into communicating in your native tongue. But when you're by yourself, you don't have the option. You'll be surprised how much you can pick up in a relatively short amount of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-surprising-skill-that-can-save-you-money-when-you-travel?ref=seealso">How Learning the Local Language Will Save You Money When You Travel</a>)</p> <h2>5. Increase your confidence</h2> <p>Often pushing yourself to do something that feels a little uncomfortable at first can lead to a surprising amount of growth. Once you've traveled alone, you'll have a greater sense of independence and the confidence to know you don't have to be joined at the hip with someone you know all the time. You will never again have to fear eating at a restaurant alone.</p> <h2>6. Indulge in some &quot;you&quot; time</h2> <p>Taking a step back from your normal routines and social habits can be the perfect way to reconnect with yourself. For many, traveling alone provides a much-needed recharge. By exploring on your own, you're giving yourself a valuable opportunity to think, meditate, and just enjoy some quiet time when you need it.</p> <p>Solo travel can be the perfect way to escape from a routine of constant negotiations, whether it's in the workplace or at home. It's a unique and often very memorable experience that everyone should try at least once in their life.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Unexpected%2520Benefits%2520of%2520Solo%2520Travel.jpg&amp;description=6%20Unexpected%20Benefits%20of%20Solo%20Travel"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Unexpected%20Benefits%20of%20Solo%20Travel.jpg" alt="6 Unexpected Benefits of Solo Travel" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cities-where-airbnb-is-way-cheaper-than-a-hotel">5 Cities Where Airbnb Is Way Cheaper Than a Hotel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-affordable-train-trips">5 Fun, Affordable Train Trips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel budgeting flexibility foreign languages learning meeting locals planning solo travel tourism trips vacation Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1923012 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: Where to Find Cheap Training for a New Career http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-where-to-find-cheap-training-for-a-new-career <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-where-to-find-cheap-training-for-a-new-career" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_computer_stress_84635733.jpg" alt="Woman finding cheap training for a new career" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is another episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>Yesterday, one of my friends asked: &quot;So, what are you working on?&quot; To which I responded: &quot;Um, you know, stuff. All sorts of things. I'm so busy. Uhhhhh, It's kind of boring to explain.&quot;</p> <p>For the past four weeks I've been grinding away at an increasingly long To Do list. It's always been like this. Or, to be accurate, I've always been like this. I always complete the majority of my projects during the last four months of the year. Perhaps it's because 24 years after graduation, I still feel like September is the start of a new year. Or perhaps it's the change of seasons&hellip; even though Los Angeles only has two seasons: vacation weather and unreasonably hot.</p> <p>Or, perhaps I accidentally schedule all my deadlines for every project for December 31st. Regardless of the motivation, my completion panic kicked into high gear one month early this year.</p> <p>I suspect it's the public shaming aspect of this writing exercise that has accelerated my inner clock. After all, it's September and I am still over $21,000 short of meeting my goal of saving $31,000 before the end of the year. If I want to make this goal, I will need to make or save an additional $5,280 <em>per month</em>. Uhn.</p> <p>To that end, I have been working every moneymaking angle available to me from the confines of my house. I am canning my award-winning fig jam in advance of Holiday Craft Fairs, I have applied to every job lead that has come my way (including one that would require me to wear an abaya everyday for a month &mdash; but since I look weirdly cute in a headscarf, this is actually not a bad thing), and I am selling everything I don't completely love on Craigslist and eBay.</p> <p>At the end of June, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-does-taking-a-regular-day-job-mean-giving-up" target="_blank">I got a really good job lead</a> from my sister. If I can become an expert at Adobe Illustrator and pass her company's skill test, she can hire me for a freelance job that would easily make up my budget shortfall.</p> <h2>Access Free Job Skill Training Via the Library</h2> <p>Once I learned about the job opportunity, I jumped into action. I subscribed to Adobe Illustrator ($30 per month) believing that I would be illustrating everything by the end of the 30-day free trial period. &quot;I totally got this,&quot; I told myself. &quot;I'm going to spend the 4th of July watching 32 hours of Lynda.com tutorials that I can download for free using my Los Angeles Public Library card. Then I will give myself three weeks to cram for the skill test. My education cost will be zero and I can work full time starting in August.&quot;</p> <h2>Cramming Doesn't Work</h2> <p>I started watching the Lynda.com tutorials that same night. Two hours in I began to lose focus to the point that I had to stop and rewind the video several times because I kept spacing out. &quot;Ugh. What is wrong with me? Why am I struggling so hard to learn this?&quot; I asked my best friend. &quot;Well,&quot; she answered, &quot;there's a reason why most college classes are only two hours long. Your brain is actively learning, not binge watching Daredevil, you dummy.&quot;</p> <p>Oh.</p> <p>Now resigned to the fact that I cannot master Adobe Illustrator in one marathon study session, I've had to alter my schedule for total budget domination considerably. Not without a huge amount of denial, I have discovered that my brain can only absorb an hour of technical lecturing per day. So it was 32 days of watching tutorials, not three. I've also had to admit to myself that it's going to take a minimum of 100 hours of practice with the Pen Tool before I have any proficiency. So basically, my free self-education and accelerated learning plan now looks and costs the same as a semester-long class at my local community college, but without teacher office hours so I can actually get one-on-one assistance.</p> <p>What is possibly worse than acknowledging that I am not the quick study I thought I was? The realization that I am now losing paid work hours to unpaid study hours. In order not to backslide into more debt, I will have to get a better-paying job to supplement my job training for a better-paying job.</p> <p>Sigh. Lesson learned?</p> <h2>Progress So Far</h2> <p>My blood tests are fine. My teeth are fine. My boobs are fine. My OCD is&hellip;what it is. My savings this month? Not so much. My regularly scheduled doctors' appointments erased any savings from Mr. Spendypants this pay period as I'm on his health insurance. (Thanks Cutie).</p> <p>Between my new study schedule and my doctor appointments, I only managed to turn in $90 worth in writing work this pay period. Luckily, my bees came through for me and helped me sell $150 in bees and $293.76 in honey. Because I've been under house arrest, and Mr. Spendypants has been working 16 hours a day, we still managed to come out $533.76 ahead, even with all the medical expenses.</p> <p><strong>Goal:</strong> $31,000</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised:</strong> $22,040.17</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong> $12,153.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong> $21,113.49</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-where-to-find-cheap-training-for-a-new-career">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Everything Breaks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-job-creation">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Job Creation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-does-taking-a-regular-day-job-mean-giving-up">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Does Taking a Regular Day Job Mean Giving Up?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-sufficiency-self-reliance-and-freedom">Self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and freedom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-buy-a-house-when-you-live-paycheck-to-paycheck">My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Buy a House When You Live Paycheck to Paycheck</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Career and Income budget challenge career skills deadlines debt job hunting job skills learning max wongs budget motivation Fri, 09 Sep 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Max Wong 1788919 at http://www.wisebread.com Beat Stress With These 28 Inexpensive Pastimes http://www.wisebread.com/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/father_son_fishing_70352103.jpg" alt="Father and son beating stress with inexpensive pastimes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Expensive activities are stressful for me because paying for them weighs on my mind. I enjoy cheap or free pastimes, and even some pastimes that make money. Here are some inexpensive pastimes that you can enjoy to stay blissfully preoccupied without spending much money.</p> <h2>Exercise</h2> <p>The payoffs for regular exercise are immense, not least is the relaxation.</p> <h3>1. Bicycling</h3> <p>Bicycling can be a very inexpensive hobby. I picked up a cheap used bike for $28, rode it for five years, and then sold it for $35! In addition to a bike, there are a few other things you&rsquo;ll need to get started: a bike helmet and a bike lock to keep yourself and your bike safe. If you buy an older bike, you may need to change the tires and inner tubes, but you can do this yourself for only a few dollars. A cheap bike provides transportation, exercise, and entertainment.</p> <h3>2. Walking</h3> <p>Even if you don&rsquo;t have any money at all, you can still enjoy walking. Walking is a convenient way to spend time outside and enjoy the seasons with no special equipment or planning required. When the weather is bad, I enjoy walking indoors in shopping malls.</p> <h3>3. Hiking</h3> <p>Sometimes I like to go to go hiking in a park or trail away from roads and sidewalks. Hiking takes a bit more effort than simply going for a walk near your home or workplace, but provides more opportunities to get close to nature. Most hiking trips are free, but I recently paid $10 to go for a five-hour hike among the redwoods in Muir Woods National Monument while visiting San Francisco. This was the most entertainment I have ever gotten for $10!</p> <h2>Cerebral Activities</h2> <p>After you've worked your muscles, challenge your noodle.</p> <h3>4. Reading</h3> <p>Reading can be free if you get books at a public library or find free classics to read on your electronic devices via sites such as <a href="https://www.gutenberg.org/">Project Gutenberg</a>. It seems like there is a nearly endless supply of new books coming along, plus the old classics to catch up on.</p> <h3>5. Writing</h3> <p>Writing has been a great pastime for me. It is exciting to see my work published, and I have even been able to make some money along the way from writing books, articles, and through advertising on my blog. If you are not ready to publish your work for the world to see, writing a journal for yourself or stories to share with your friends and family is a great way to get started writing.</p> <h3>6. Crossword Puzzles</h3> <p>Crossword puzzles help keep your mind sharp and some people seem to really enjoy doing them. I have tried doing crossword puzzles a few times, but it is too much like doing a homework assignment for me to enjoy. Maybe I need to find some easier crossword puzzles to build up my skills.</p> <h3>7. Brain Games</h3> <p>I have tried brain games on my computer, such as the free trial version of <a href="http://www.lumosity.com/">Lumosity</a>, and I sometimes play Math Blaster on my Android device. There are all kinds of free brain games that exercise your skills and help you stay sharp as you try to beat your high score. Some games even allow you to compare your scores with others.</p> <h3>8. Educational Videos</h3> <p>You no longer need to wait until Sunday evening for NOVA to come on PBS. You can get a wide selection of educational programs any time on Netflix ($8 per month) or YouTube (free). I like to find TED Talks on YouTube to find interesting perspectives on everything from physics to social sciences.</p> <h3>9. Online Courses</h3> <p>There are all kinds of online courses you can take for free, including subjects such as computer programming, statistics, and science. Here are some places to check for online courses that interest you:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm">MIT OpenCourseWare</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.coursera.org/">Coursera</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses">Open Culture</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.khanacademy.org/">Khan Academy</a></li> </ul> <h3>10. Jigsaw Puzzles</h3> <p>Some people get excited about doing jigsaw puzzles and like to receive them as gifts. Jigsaw puzzles can provide many hours of entertainment for not much money, and you do get a sense of satisfaction &mdash; or relief &mdash; when the puzzle is complete. You can pick up used jigsaw puzzles at garage sales for a dollar or two that provide hours of entertainment, but you might find out that there are missing pieces.</p> <h3>11. Ancestry Research/Genealogy</h3> <p>You can make a serious hobby out of researching your ancestry. It is easier than ever to research family history and find links to your family&rsquo;s past. You can get a long way without spending much money and produce research on your family history that will be invaluable to future generations.</p> <h3>12. Learn a Foreign Language</h3> <p>When you learn a foreign language, you learn more than just a bunch of foreign words. You learn about another culture and open up opportunities to meet and learn about new people.</p> <h2>Nature/Outdoor Enjoyment</h2> <p>When you tire of puzzles and brain games, re-connect with nature.</p> <h3>13. Camping</h3> <p>Camping can be a great way to get away and see things from a fresh perspective. You can find places to camp for free, but even if you pay to stay in a campground, you can find places to pitch a tent for around $20 per night.</p> <h3>14. Fishing</h3> <p>Basic fishing equipment doesn&rsquo;t cost a lot of money. You can get an inexpensive rod and reel good enough to catch your dinner for around $25. I still have a lot of the same fishing tackle I used when I was growing up. The price of a seasonal fishing license varies by location. I paid about $20 and was able to go fishing whenever I wanted all summer.</p> <h3>15. Bird-watching</h3> <p>It is hard not to watch the birds at my house. I have seen orioles, blue jays, cardinals, robins, hummingbirds, geese, and even bald eagles. I put out bird feeders to attract birds near my house for easy observation. Even if you don&rsquo;t put out bird feeders, you can probably find interesting birds to watch and enjoy. Binoculars are useful to be able to observe birds high in trees or too far away to see easily.</p> <h2>Food-Related</h2> <p>While you don't want to use food as a coping tool, lots of the activities around food prep are satisfying and relaxing.</p> <h3>16. Gardening</h3> <p>You get to enjoy planning your garden, watching it grow, and then harvest lots of free vegetables. Gardening can be very inexpensive if you start your own seeds and make your own compost to use for fertilizer. Even if you don&rsquo;t have a yard, you can grow vegetables in pots on a patio or deck. If you don&rsquo;t want to rototill a traditional garden, you can grow vegetables in straw bales or build raised beds for easy access.</p> <h3>17. Cooking</h3> <p>Cooking is a great pastime since it reduces the probability that you will spend money on expensive restaurant food. Watch some cooking shows or videos to learn cooking techniques and get ideas for recipes you want to try out. You can get started cooking with only a few pans and utensils.</p> <h3>18. Canning Food</h3> <p>If you have a successful garden, you&rsquo;ll need to do something with all of those vegetables. The first thing I remember canning was salsa we made with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro we grew in the garden. It was messy and a lot of work, but it was fun to make those cans of salsa to save for winter and to give to friends. If you have a freezer, you can use an inexpensive <a href="http://amzn.to/1Y6gll8">vacuum sealer</a> to pull the air out of plastic bags and seal up your produce to freeze without getting freezer burned.</p> <h3>19. Grilling</h3> <p>You can start grilling with a $20 charcoal grill. If $20 is too much for you, you can even make a grill for free! My kids build a kebab pit for free using concrete blocks they found and it works great. I also have a gas grill which is more expensive, but very convenient. Grilling outside is one of my favorite activities, followed closely by eating the food that I grill.</p> <h2>Creative Activities</h2> <p>Nothing is as satisfying as zoning out while making something. The doing is its own reward &mdash; but you'll also be rewarded with some of your own handiwork.</p> <h3>20. Wood shop</h3> <p>One of my favorite pastimes is working in my wood shop. I like to repair things, build small projects, and just spend time in my shop organizing my tools and thinking. A wood shop does not need to be expensive. I built one of my workbenches from a kit and others using recycled kitchen cabinets and countertops. Many of my tools were used tools that people gave me.</p> <h3>21. Photography</h3> <p>You can take surprisingly good photos with a cellphone or cheap digital camera, especially in outdoor lighting. A quality digital SLR camera with a zoom lens runs around $300 and will allow you to take your photography to the next level, providing more control over the camera settings.</p> <h3>22. Musical Instruments</h3> <p>You can pick up cheap used musical instruments on Craigslist or at consignment or pawnshops. Of course, buying the instrument is the easy part &mdash; learning to play it well takes work and practice.</p> <h3>23. Sewing</h3> <p>With a sewing machine, fabric, and a pattern, you can make your own clothes. Collecting bargain fabrics is part of the fun of sewing.</p> <h2>Social Activities</h2> <p>It's a fact of life that other people can be the cause of so much stress. It's also a fact of life that other people are often the cure.</p> <h3>24. Volunteer Work</h3> <p>There are lots of opportunities available to volunteer some of your time working for a good cause. Volunteering can be a good way to do something you enjoy and meet other people with similar interests. Some ideas for volunteering: animal shelter, food pantry, political campaign, church organizations.</p> <h3>25. Visiting</h3> <p>If you get bored hanging around your own house, try going to someone else's house! Visiting friends or family is a cheap way to get out of the house and do something different for a change of pace. Having people come over to visit at your place can inspire you to get cleaning and projects done.</p> <h3>26. Playing Cards</h3> <p>Playing cards is a classic cheap pastime, as long as you aren&rsquo;t placing bets. Poker, bridge, and euchre are some popular card games that allow you to play competitively with others.</p> <h2>Cheap Entertainment</h2> <p>Finally, it's okay to be a couch potato from time to time.</p> <h3>27. Sports Fan</h3> <p>Some people spend a lot as sports fans, paying big money for tickets to games and buying team jerseys and other paraphernalia. But being a sports fan doesn&rsquo;t have to be expensive. I don&rsquo;t subscribe to any TV service, but I can find many of my Iowa Hawkeye football games for free, either on over-the-air TV or on radio broadcasts. Sometimes I can find a free video stream of the game on the Internet.</p> <h3>28. News Junkie</h3> <p>I listen to National Public Radio (NPR) for about an hour every day to keep up on news and world events. When I miss my chance to listen to the news for some reason, I feel out of touch and usually end up going on the Internet to check news stories I am following. Keeping up with the news is a cheap pastime and makes it easy to have an intelligent conversation with anyone you meet.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite cheap pastimes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10">25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally">The 35 Best Ways to Spend Your Free Time (Frugally)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-fun-frugal-things-to-do-tonight-besides-watch-tv">25 Fun, Frugal Things to Do Tonight Besides Watch TV</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies">10 Awesome Money-Making Hobbies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Entertainment crafts exercise fun games hobbies learning leisure pastimes projects things to do Thu, 16 Jun 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1728607 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 More Hobbies You Can Start for Free http://www.wisebread.com/10-more-hobbies-you-can-start-for-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-more-hobbies-you-can-start-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000036662410_Large.jpg" alt="she&#039;s taking up a fun hobby for free" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a 2014 time use survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics uncovered that Americans &mdash; on average &mdash; spend <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.nr0.htm">2.8 hours watching television</a> each day. That's a lot of time staring at a box, right?</p> <p>Well, instead of straining your eyes and allowing your brain to transform into mush, maybe it's time for a new hobby. Here are a bunch <em>more</em> cool hobbies you can start today for free! (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-hobbies-you-can-take-up-for-free?ref=seealso">10 Fun Hobbies You Can Take Up for Free</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cooking or Baking</h2> <p>Learning to make better dinners or desserts doesn't have to cost anything outside of your normal grocery budget. There are millions of recipes you can access for free online. To make sure you have the right ingredients and don't go over budget, try meal planning. All you have to do is find recipes that look good, write down what you'll need, and head to the store. You might not be able to make something special every night of the week, so start by cooking on a weekend when you might usually go out.</p> <h2>2. Nature Identification</h2> <p>Take out some books from your local library on nature identification. You can focus on birds, plants, insects, stars, or whatever else interests you most. Then step into your backyard and take a look around. I used to collect leaves so I could figure out the exact type of trees that we had growing in our neighborhood. Now that my daughter is older, she can join me on the adventure.</p> <h2>3. Weather Reporting</h2> <p>Are you always watching the precipitation or other weather events in your area? Your local branch of the National Weather Service likely runs free training sessions on how to become a weather spotter through the <a href="http://skywarn.org/about/">SKYWARN volunteer program</a>. After you've taken the class, you'll work to identify and describe severe weather in your area and report back to your local station.</p> <h2>4. Drawing</h2> <p>I've never been good at art, so I was delighted to find <a href="https://www.drawspace.com">Draw Space</a>. This corner of the web offers free tutorials and instruction on drawing and other art for beginners all the way to advanced artists. Focus on contours, shading, composition, or any other area that interests you.</p> <h2>5. Photography</h2> <p>Yes! You can take up photography for free, provided you have an iPhone (or other cell phone with camera capabilities). And though you might not believe me, you can shoot DSLR-quality photos with your phone and a little knowledge. The <a href="http://iphonephotographyschool.com/iphoneography/">iPhone Photography School</a> has a number of tutorials on everything from &quot;making the most of light&quot; to photo editing.&nbsp;</p> <h2>6. Whittling</h2> <p>Whittling is a relaxing craft that also happens to be free if you have an old pocket knife. According to The Art of Manliness, <a href="http://www.artofmanliness.com/2011/12/12/a-beginners-guide-to-whittling/">softwoods work best</a> (you can find basswood, pine, and others at your local craft shop), but backyard twigs work just as well. Make sure your knife is sharp, learn the basic cuts, and get creative. Your library might have books with ideas for projects.</p> <h2>7. Vlogging</h2> <p>If you're not into writing or blogging, considering heading over to YouTube and starting your own vlog. Creating an account is free and &mdash; if you get popular &mdash; you may even make some money on the side if you link up your channel to Adsense. You can take videos and upload them in no time using your cell phone. What you talk about is up to you, so long as you follow the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/yt/policyandsafety/communityguidelines.html">community guidelines</a>.</p> <h2>8. Dancing</h2> <p>Could your moves use some work? Check out <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl5BOPEjOB6kR8IxzWy3bWg">Club Dance Lessons</a> for free videos on hip-hop, electronic, salsa, and all other types of dance. Whether you're looking for twerking lessons, dance seduction moves, or freestyle grooves, you're covered. Plus, dancing is great exercise if you hate going to the gym.</p> <h2>9. Couponing</h2> <p>I still haven't gotten into coupons, but some of my friends swear this ever-popular hobby saves them tons of cash. You'll likely want to get the Sunday paper, and scour the web for digital deals, but the savings you'll see is most usually worth the few dollars you'll spend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-coupons-for-every-online-store-even-the-ones-that-dont-have-coupons?ref=seealso">Score Coupons for Every Online Store</a>)</p> <h2>10. Meditating</h2> <p>Sure, your body might be fit and active, but what about your mind? Try meditating to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, improve circulation, and more. Gaiam offers a wonderful (and free!) start-up guide for <a href="http://life.gaiam.com/article/meditation-101-techniques-benefits-beginner-s-how">How to Meditate</a>. Start by sitting and closing your eyes. Breathe naturally. Focus your attention on your breath and work up to concentrating in this way for two to three minutes. From there, work your way to longer periods of time.</p> <p><em>Did we miss any cool free hobbies? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-more-hobbies-you-can-start-for-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally">The 35 Best Ways to Spend Your Free Time (Frugally)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes">Beat Stress With These 28 Inexpensive Pastimes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-54-frugal-hobbies-you-should-try-immediately">Flashback Friday: 54 Frugal Hobbies You Should Try Immediately</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-fun-free-ways-to-have-a-great-time-with-friends">50 Fun, Free Ways to Have a Great Time With Friends</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living activities free fun free hobbies hobbies learning resolutions skills Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1649860 at http://www.wisebread.com Learn Something New With These 9 Cheap Apps http://www.wisebread.com/learn-something-new-with-these-9-cheap-apps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/learn-something-new-with-these-9-cheap-apps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000062778500_Large.jpg" alt="learning something new with a cheap educational app" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With so many new things in the world to learn and so little time in your hectic schedule to spare, the learning part should be easy and accessible. For those who don't have the patience to sit down with a book, and who also are extremely attached to their smartphones, apps are a great way to turn a potential distraction into a powerful and portable medium for learning.</p> <p>Here are nine cheap or free apps to help you learn something new.</p> <h2>1. Couch to 5K</h2> <p>Right now, many Americans are trying to keep their New Year's Resolutions. Among the top resolutions is to &quot;get fit&quot; and one of the most common ways to achieve that is to get off the couch and train for a 5K race.</p> <p>Recommended by Shape Magazine as the best app for new runners, Couch to 5K provides you a training schedule of three 30-minute sessions a week for nine weeks to achieve your goal of running your first 5K race. It costs $2.99 to download and it's available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/couch-to-5k-running-app-training/id448474423?mt=8">iTunes</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.active.aps.c25k">Google Play</a>.</p> <p>Ready for the next level? There are also <a href="http://www.activenetwork.com/mobile-apps/5k-to-10k-app">5K to 10K</a> and half-marathon (<a href="http://www.activenetwork.com/mobile-apps/13-1-half-marathon-app">13.One</a>) training apps. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-apps-that-pay-you-to-exercise?ref=seealso">5 Apps That Pay You to Exercise</a>)</p> <h2>2. Dictionary</h2> <p>Want to become a &quot;logophile&quot; or discover what that word even means? Then download the Dictionary.com mobile apps for free (available for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dictionary.com-dictionary/id308750436?mt=8&amp;at=1l3vsk3&amp;ct=mobileappspage_iphonefree">iPhone</a>, <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dictionary.com-dictionary/id364740856?mt=8">iPad</a>, Apple Watch, <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dictionary&amp;hl=en">Android</a>, Android Wear, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-com-Dictionary-and-Thesaurus-Android/dp/B004GMT14Y">Amazon</a> devices). With over 100 million app downloads and 5.5 billion word searches per year, Dictionary.com is the world's leading digital English dictionary.</p> <p>Through its Word of the Day feature, you'll learn a new word every day, including its definition, pronunciation, origin, and example of use. This dictionary app also allows you to keep track of your favorite words so that you can bring them up when the time is right &mdash; and impress the pants off everyone you know with your massive vocabulary.</p> <h2>3. Duolingo</h2> <p>Speaking more than one language may enable you for higher pay in certain jobs and help you <a href="http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/journals/pspi/bilingual-minds.html">fight against Alzheimer's disease</a>. By gamifying the language learning process, Duolingo (available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/app/duolingo-learn-spanish-french/id570060128?mt=8">iTunes</a>, <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.duolingo">Google Play</a>, and <a href="https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/duolingo-learn-languages-for-free/9wzdncrcv5xn">Windows Store</a>) makes your lessons fun and provides immediate gratification. Duolingo grants you points for completing tasks so you can see how you stack up against your friends.</p> <p>Chosen as 2013's App of the Year by Apple and available for free download, Duolingo is a top choice for learning Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Irish, Danish, and English.</p> <h2>4. Fooducate</h2> <p>With an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from a total of 11,200 ratings, Fooducate is another useful app to keep your resolution for a healthier and fitter 2016. This app, available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fooducate/id398436747?mt=8">iTunes</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fooducate.nutritionapp&amp;referrer=utm_source%3Dfdct-redirect%26utm_campaign%3DFdct-Web-footer-button%26utm_medium%3Dna">Google Play</a>, grades food items from A down to D based on the item's nutrition facts panel and ingredient list.</p> <p>By scanning the UPC of many food items, you'll be able to spot information that may be hard to identify, including tricky trans fats, added sugars, and controversial food colorings. The rating isn't arbitrary. In 2012, the <a href="http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/news/2012/02/sg_healthy_app_challenge-winners.html">U.S. Surgeon General's Healthy App Challenge</a> awarded Fooducate first place in the category of nutrition and healthy eating.</p> <h2>5. Khan Academy</h2> <p>Use it or lose it. Spreadsheet software and modern calculators hinder many math skills, including performing long division, factoring a quadratic equation, finding the least common multiple, or solving a system of linear equations. While you may have thought that you would never have to perform these math operations ever again, you would run into them if you were to take a standardized test, such as the GMAT, GRE, or ASVAB.</p> <p>Without ads and subscription fees, the Khan Academy app, available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/khan-academy/id469863705?mt=8&amp;uo=4">iTunes</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.khanacademy.android&amp;hl=en">Google Play</a>, allows you to review those key math skills. You can also find plenty of free online classes on science, computer programming, history, art, economics, and other topics.</p> <h2>6. Mint</h2> <p>Available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mint-personal-finance/id300238550?mt=8">iTunes</a>, <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mint&amp;hl=en">Google Play</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Intuit-Mint-com-Personal-Finance/dp/B004T2P7MQ">Amazon</a>, the free Mint app helps you track all your financial accounts, cards, and investments in one place so you can improve your financial wellbeing. While you could try to keep track of all of your finances from statements, you could benefit greatly from Mint's visual dashboard. And since 65% of individuals are <a href="http://www.uab.edu/uasomume/fd2/visuals/page1.htm">visual learners</a>, the app's bar charts, pie charts, and colorful alerts allow you to spend smarter and save more.</p> <p>One of the best features of the app is the ability to create a detailed budget so you can keep track of how much money you have left for the month in specific categories, such as dining, clothing, and transportation.</p> <h2>7. Poems By Heart</h2> <p>Another way to keep your mind sharp is to improve your memory. The Poems By Heart app helps you memorize and recite poems from several genres, including the &quot;Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day&quot; sonnet by Shakespeare and &quot;Eldorado&quot; by Edgar Allan Poe.</p> <p>The app is only available for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/poems-by-heart-from-penguin/id577789325?mt=8">iPhone and iPad</a> and comes with four free poems. You can buy additional poem packages that feature the works of iconic poets like Walt Whitman, W.B. Yeats, and James Weldon Johnson. Apple featured Poems by Heart as one of &quot;Apple's App Store Best of 2013&quot; because it's highly engaging (and addictive!) user design.</p> <h2>8. Photomath</h2> <p>One of the hardest things about solving mathematical problems is to understand all of the steps involved in the process. Even worse, it's hard enough trying to write down a complicated arithmetic operation or lengthy linear equation.</p> <p>The Photomath app allows you to snap a photo of a wide variety of mathematical expressions, including basic arithmetic, fractions, decimal numbers, linear equations and several functions, with the camera of your <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photomath/id919087726">iPhone</a> or <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microblink.photomath">Android device</a> and show you a step-by-step answer. This is a very useful app for math students of all levels and parents of those young students willing to help out.</p> <h2>9. Quizlet</h2> <p>Flashcards are an excellent study tool because they allow for a self-directed personalized study experience that help us gauge our progress. Available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/quizlet-flashcards-study-tools/id546473125?mt=8">iTunes</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.quizlet.quizletandroid&amp;hl=en&amp;referrer=utm_source%3Dmobilepage">Google Play</a>, the Quizlet app allows you to build your own set of digital flashcards on any subject that you're trying to master. From learning new words in Spanish to memorizing kitchen recipes to preparing for a driving permit practice test, use Quizlet to unlock the learning power of flashcards in six study modes.</p> <p><em>What are other cheap or free apps to help you learn something? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-something-new-with-these-9-cheap-apps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-didn-t-learn-in-college-but-you-should-have">10 Things You Didn’t Learn in College (but You Should Have)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-17-companies-will-help-you-repay-your-student-loan">These 17 Companies Will Help You Repay Your Student Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/college-resources">40+ College Resources for Parents and Students</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-smart-about-money-with-these-18-free-online-courses">Get Smart About Money With These 18 Free Online Courses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-get-free-personal-finance-classes">10 Places to Get Free Personal Finance Classes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Lifestyle cheap apps education free apps iPhone learning new skills resolutions Wed, 03 Feb 2016 18:19:00 +0000 Damian Davila 1647754 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Habits Science Says Will Make You Smarter http://www.wisebread.com/5-habits-science-says-will-make-you-smarter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-habits-science-says-will-make-you-smarter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000060996814.jpg" alt="Family creating habits science says will make them smarter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, you want to be smarter? You're not alone. Most people have moments when they wish they knew more, remembered more, performed better, or could connect ideas faster than the people around them.</p> <p>We tend to believe that a person's level of intelligence is genetic, or at least that it is set early on. However, there are always things that we can do to help our brains work better. After all, that's a huge part of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">being smart</a>: having a brain that is able to function at the top of its game.</p> <h2>1. Eat Breakfast</h2> <p>Kids who eat breakfast <a href="http://www.ejbss.com/Data/Sites/1/mydata/ejbss-12-1117-breakfastandadolescentperformance.pdf">perform significantly better</a> in school. In fact, they do better than the non-breakfast eaters even when their breakfast isn't particularly healthy, although healthier breakfasts enhance performance even more.</p> <p>The brain needs nutrients to function. After a full night's sleep, even if you overate the night before, your brain needs food. When you skip your breakfast, you miss these nutrients. In addition, the study above also notes that most people don't just get these nutrients later in the day. For many of us, breakfast is our best chance at giving our brain all that it needs to work well.</p> <p>Lots and lots of people don't like breakfast or don't make the time for breakfast. If you're one of these, consider starting with something small and something you really, really enjoy eating. Work your way up to a full breakfast. And if you feel like you can't eat until a bit later in the day, try taking a smoothie with you to work.</p> <h2>2. Exercise</h2> <p>Exercise gives your brain what it needs to <a href="http://fit.webmd.com/teen/move/article/exercise-boosts-brain">grow new neurons</a> which help it store memories and make connections. Exercise helps us think more flexibly and helps office workers raise their productivity. If you can get up to 45 minutes to an hour a day, six days a week, you will put your brain in a good place for optimal functioning.</p> <p>Getting regular exercise is hard. You're tired. You don't have time. You can't afford a gym membership. Whatever your reasoning, though, it's worth overcoming it so that you can get these benefits that make you <em>smarter</em>.</p> <p>Start with something that is simple, like walking. Walk on breaks from work, even if it's just around your office. Or walk in the evenings, if the weather is nice. Take family and friends with you, or catch up on your favorite podcast while you walk. Soon, you will have a habit, and you will be able to notice your brain function improving.</p> <h2>3. Spend Time With Intelligent, Creative People</h2> <p><a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3004829/harvard-professor-finds-innovative-ideas-spread-flu-heres-how-catch-them">Ideas travel between people,</a> so the more central your position in a group of smart, thoughtful, and creative people, the more interesting news and information you'll be exposed to. A huge part of being smart is connecting ideas in new ways, and to do this you have to hear, see, and experience new and fascinating things.</p> <p>If you feel like your current group of friends isn't quite where you'd like them to be, don't push them away entirely. It may be that they, too, are not being exposed to new things. Instead, find some interesting people and invite them into your group. Think about the guy at work who always seems to be talking about the new book he just read, or the gal at the gym who seems to know everything about exercise science. Learn all you can from them, digest it, and see how it connects to what you already know.</p> <p>Make spending time in these kinds of relationships habitual, and you'll soon see the benefits. Your brain will stretch to hold the new ideas. Then new connections will form, and who knows! Maybe you'll be the one with the next innovative, brilliant thought.</p> <h2>4. Get an Extra Hour of Sleep</h2> <p>People who slept less did up to 40% worse on a cognitive test than people who slept more. Even <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24444634">an hour of sleep</a> made a significant difference in computerized mental agility tests. So if you want your brain to work well, you need to give it plenty of rest.</p> <p>Seven hours seems to be the magic number for most people. Get at least that much sleep, and you will have enough time in REM sleep for your brain to work well. Get less than that, and you may find that you don't remember things as well, haven't fully processed the previous day, and can't think straight.</p> <p>Getting more sleep is hard for most of us. Sometimes, evenings are the only time you get to relax. Or maybe you're a night owl who struggles to rest before the wee hours. Even if you can only tweak your sleep habits a little bit, it should have a positive effect on the way your brain works.</p> <h2>5. Learn How to Learn</h2> <p>If you did decently well in school, you probably assume that you know how to learn. However, there's almost always room for improvement. For instance, people who learn well tend to spend more time practicing what they are trying to learn than reading about it. They also commit to the long-term process, and find a way to track their efforts, their progress, and what they realize along the way.</p> <p>Part of being smarter involves acquiring new knowledge skills. When you can do this consistently and efficiently, you will find that your cognitive skills continually increase. Make learning well a habit, and you should feel confident that your brain can handle anything thrown its way.</p> <p><em>Do you have any practices that make you smarter? What do you do?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-habits-science-says-will-make-you-smarter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-starting-or-jumpstarting-your-exercise-regimen">Tips For Starting (Or Jumpstarting) Your Exercise Regimen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-exotic-yoga-retreats-anyone-can-afford">5 Exotic Yoga Retreats Anyone Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-naturally-reset-your-sleep-cycle-overnight">How to Naturally Reset Your Sleep Cycle in One Night</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-lower-your-blood-sugar">13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Health and Beauty being smarter brain power breakfast exercise learning sleep Fri, 31 Jul 2015 17:00:14 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1502008 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_playing_toys_000046742926.jpg" alt="Child playing with educational toys made at home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may seem like you need to spend a fortune on educational toys for your kids these days. Heck, many stores have entire sections devoted to learning aids cleverly disguised as playthings. All that stuff is great, but you can beef up your child's smarts with some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-crafts-that-will-save-you-money">awesome DIY projects</a>. You'll spend much less money making things at home, and frugality is a great lesson to teach children at any age.</p> <h2>1. Sensory Tables</h2> <p>Bring your child's preschool favorite to you own playroom with these <a href="http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/04/diy-sensory-tables.html">DIY sensory tables</a>. Construct a simple wooden base out of pallets and plop in a plastic bin. You can fill them with rice, dried beans, or whatever else you like. And if you're looking to do this project on a dime, skip the table and just place the plastic bin on a waist-high surface.</p> <h2>2. Alphabet Board</h2> <p>I love this <a href="http://nicandkate09.blogspot.com/2011/08/alphabet-board.html">alphabet board</a> project because you could take it in so many different directions. Just mount a metal oil pan on your wall to create a magnetic surface. The author cut up an alphabet poster and glued it to the pan. Then her child used magnetic letters to match. You could repeat with numbers, maps, or anything else you're looking to teach your child.</p> <h2>3. Felt Board</h2> <p>Here's a similar idea <a href="http://buggyandbuddy.com/make-your-own-felt-board-tutorial/">making a felt board</a> versus metal. Cut a piece of felt so it's a bit larger than a cork board. Then use an X-Acto knife to size it perfectly before spraying with adhesive and pressing onto the board. Once it has dried, you can use homemade felt cut-outs to explore a variety of subjects.</p> <h2>4. Emo Dolls</h2> <p>Teach your child about facial expressions, emotions, and even empathy with these <a href="http://www.danyabanya.com/diy-educational-toy-emo-dolls/">DIY emo dolls</a>. Making them couldn't be easier. Take two types of cardboard tubes that are different sizes (toilet paper and cling wrap, for example). Cut them to the same length. Then cut a circle (face) into the larger one. Draw different faces on the smaller one. Nest them together, and you're done!</p> <h2>5. Sight Word Rolls</h2> <p>Use a similar approach for these <a href="http://laughingkidslearn.com/2013/06/word-rolls.html/">sight word rolls</a>. Cut varying lengths of tubes in different diameters. On one tube, write the first part of a word. One the second, the rest of it. There are many different ways to form your words, and this author started with consonant blends and digraphs.</p> <h2>6. Sewn Letters</h2> <p>Those of you who sew will love this <a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/quilting-sewing-creating/2013/06/fabric-alphabet-toy-letters-tutorial-diy/">plush alphabet</a> project you can make using leftover scraps of fabric. Simply cut squares of fabric, sandwich in some batting, and then sew around a stencil guide. Cut out the letters using pinking shears so there's no fraying at the edges.</p> <h2>7. Sponge Letters</h2> <p>Not so crafty? Try cutting <a href="http://www.learning4kids.net/2011/08/16/alphabet-sponge-letters-bath-time-fun-2/">letters from clean sponges</a> instead. The advantage here is that you can take them into the bath. You could also use them as paint stamps. Here's a free <a href="http://www.learning4kids.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Sponge-Alphabet5.pdf">alphabet template</a> you can print off and use as a guide.</p> <h2>8. Inventor's Box</h2> <p>Older kids will go crazy for this <a href="http://www.ehow.com/ehow-mom/blog/build-stem-skills-at-home-make-an-inventors-box/">inventor's box</a>. Fill a plastic bin with old electronic items, like a flashlight, keyboard, clock, radio, or whatever else you can find at yard sales and thrift shops. Then let your child independently explore. The author suggested taking a flashlight apart and letting your kid put it back together.</p> <h2>9. Memory Game</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.dandee-designs.com/2011/05/shapes-colors-memory-game.html">memory game</a> is something fun you could scale up or down for your child depending on age. Take wooden disks (you can find them at most craft stores) and cut out wool felt shapes in all different colors. Adhere the shapes to the wood and play.</p> <h2>10. Tide Pool</h2> <p>Create your own ecosystem with this <a href="http://buggyandbuddy.com/tide-pool-science-experiment-kids/">tide pool</a> project. You'll fill a metal pan with rocks, mini plastic marine animals, and sand. Then add water to the pan, noting which animals are covered by the water as it rises. Then slowly remove water and watch the tide in reverse.</p> <h2>11. Geoboard</h2> <p>Work on fine motor skills and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning with this <a href="http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/diy-simple-geo-board-for-fine-motor-skills-fine-motor-fridays/">homemade geoboard</a>. Grab a slab of wood at a craft or home improvement store, then mark off a grid in pencil. Hammer nails into the corner of each marked square. Then give your child some colorful rubber bands to create shapes, letters, or whatever else.</p> <h2>12. Giant Puzzle</h2> <p>Rainy days call for creativity. This <a href="http://www.two-daloo.com/diy-giant-block-puzzle/">giant block puzzle</a> will come to your rescue and challenge your child's spatial and problem-solving skills. Take shaped blocks (or other toys) and trace a bunch on a large sheet of paper. Then give your kids the blocks and let them figure it out.</p> <h2>13. Handwriting Tray</h2> <p>If your little one is just starting to write, try this <a href="http://thismummaslife.com/2013/02/28/diy-salt-tray-and-alphabet-cards/">handwriting tray</a>. The author recycled wooden toy packaging for the tray. The letter cards are made of thick watercolor paper. Once you've finished writing all the letters, fill the tray with salt or sand and let your child write using his or her finger or a q-tip.</p> <h2>14. Color Classifier</h2> <p>Work on advanced color recognition with this <a href="http://www.walkingbytheway.com/blog/shades-of-color/">shades of color</a> activity. Pick up a variety of paint chip cards at your local hardware store, cut them up, and store in a zip bag. Create a quick chart on a plain piece of paper and let you child try putting the chips in order based on gradation.</p> <p><em>Do you have a great project to share? Leave a note in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-things-you-should-make-your-kids-pay-for">21 Things You Should Make Your Kids Pay For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-recipes-for-slime-your-kids-can-make-and-even-sell">23 Recipes for Slime Your Kids Can Make — and Even Sell!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-money-apps-for-kids">10 Fun Money Apps for Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Family educational kids learning playing toys Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:00:12 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1502076 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools http://www.wisebread.com/9-best-free-financial-learning-tools <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-best-free-financial-learning-tools" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_tablet_travel_000063831043.jpg" alt="Woman using free financial tool to manage her money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Personal finance can be tricky. From mortgages to credit cards, investing and auto loans, there's a lot to get your brain around. The good news is that you don't need to drop hundreds of dollars to learn the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-decisions-you-cant-keep-putting-off">basics of money management</a>. There are plenty of free resources and tools to help you wade through these complicated waters. Here are nine of the best.</p> <h2>1. Your Brokerage's Website</h2> <p>Many of the top discount brokerage firms, including Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and TD Ameritrade, have robust websites that not only offer you the ability to trade, but also to learn about investing and other financial matters. Some even have sections of their websites labeled as &quot;education centers.&quot; There are news and opinion articles, videos and podcasts, plus tutorials, free webinars, and online panel discussions. Granted, these websites will often tout their own investment products, but most of the advice is sound and useful for those getting started with investing.</p> <h2>2. Feed the Pig</h2> <p><a href="http://www.feedthepig.org/">Feed the Pig</a> is presented by the American Institute of CPAs and has a number of resources for those looking for information on saving, budgeting, and retirement planning. There are some helpful budgeting calculators, and step-by-step guides on things like credit cards, mortgages, and student loans. The AICPA says the site is geared toward people aged 24 to 35, and that's evidenced by the lighthearted presentation.</p> <h2>3. CashCourse</h2> <p>Offered by the National Endowment for Financial Education, <a href="http://www.cashcourse.org/">CashCourse</a> has a series of financial tools geared toward young people. There are nearly 900 colleges that have signed up to give their students free access to workshops, and the information is noncommercial and unbiased.</p> <h2>4. Bloomberg 401(k) Calculator</h2> <p>There are many financial calculators out there, but I am partial to this robust <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/personal-finance/calculators/401k/">401(k) calculator from Bloomberg</a>, which allows you to project 401(k) savings by entering a number of fields including projected salary increases, timeline, and expected investment returns. It also allows you to view a chart showing how an employer match will impact your account balance.</p> <h2>5. Kiplinger Tax Map</h2> <p>Want to see how tax-friendly your state is? This handy <a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/tool/taxes/T055-S001-kiplinger-tax-map/">tax map from Kiplinger</a> offers ratings for each state, plus a detailed state-by-state guide on everything from income to property taxes. There's also similar map geared toward retirees.</p> <h2>6. Better Money Habits</h2> <p><a href="https://www.bettermoneyhabits.com/index.html">Better Money Habits</a> formed as a partnership between Bank of America and Khan Academy. There are tools on budgeting, credit, and home buying. As you use the site, you can obtain points for certain &quot;achievements,&quot; and earn virtual badges.</p> <h2>7. The Options Institute</h2> <p>From the Chicago Board Options Exchange, <a href="http://www.cboe.com/learncenter/options-trading-institute.aspx">The Options Institute</a> allows you to register for free online tutorials on how to use options to expand your investment opportunities. It's designed for more experienced investors, but newcomers can learn a lot as well. Most of the institute's offerings are free, though there are some seminars and classes that come at a cost.</p> <h2>8. MyMoney.gov</h2> <p>The U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Literacy and Education Commission operates <a href="http://www.mymoney.gov/Pages/default.aspx">MyMoney.gov</a>, featuring a series of tools centered on five principles: earn, save and invest, protect, spend, and borrow. There are a variety of different financial calculators, some budgeting worksheets, and checklists.</p> <h2>9. Thrive and Shine</h2> <p>This app for iPhone and Android devices is a game in which players create an avatar and then make financial decisions as they move from their parents' basement to living independently. <a href="http://www.mindblownlabs.com/product/">Thrive and Shine</a> is geared toward teens and teaches budgeting, saving, and debt management.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-best-free-financial-learning-tools">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/first-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses">First Rule of Financial Wins: Avoid Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-financial-differences-between-millennials-and-the-next-generation">7 Financial Differences Between Millennials and the Next Generation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting investing learning retirement saving stocks Tue, 19 May 2015 11:00:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 1423263 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Learn These Things to Get Better at Life http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-learn-these-things-to-get-better-at-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-learn-these-things-to-get-better-at-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-woman-relaxing-Dollarphotoclub_70326661.jpg" alt="happy woman relaxing" title="happy woman relaxing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on things to learn that'll make you better at life, ways to optimize your space, and steps you can take right now to build confidence.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/better-game-of-life/">12 Things You Can Learn Today That Will Make You Better at the Game of Life</a> &mdash; Learn to travel light in life; accumulating stuff tends to weigh us down. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="http://www.supermoney.com/2014/12/optimize-space/">100 Ways to Instantly Make Everything Better by Optimizing Space Around You</a> &mdash; Magazine holders can store more than magazines. Use them for cables, cans of food, and other kitchen odds and ends. [SuperMoney!]</p> <p><a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/3-steps-can-take-right-now-build-confidence/">3 Steps You Can Take Right Now to Build Confidence</a> &mdash; Get out of your comfort zone. Do something that you haven't done before or something that will make a difference in your life. [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Balance-Social-Life-Work-35969796">How to Balance Your Busy Social Life and Still Make It Through the Workday</a> &mdash; Need a brain boost? Take a cinnamon-flavored mint or gum to encourage concentration. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneyunder30.com/so-you-missed-black-friday-and-cyber-monday-heres-how-you-can-still-score-deals-on-holiday-gifts">So You Missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Here's How You Can Still Score Deals on Holiday Gifts</a> &mdash; Check out sites like Groupon or Living Social for deals on experience-oriented gifts. [Money Under 30]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://savingdollarsandsense.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-giving-gift-cards/">Everything You Need to Know About Giving Gift Cards</a> &mdash; Put together a gift basket to go with your gift card and make it even more personal. [Saving Dollars &amp; Sense]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cheapism.com/blog/3286/budget-red-white-wine">10 Wines Under $10 for Holiday Parties</a> &mdash; A glut of California wines means lower prices without skimping on quality. Try the J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay 2012 for about $10. [Cheapism]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneycrush.com/10-things-to-do-before-selling-your-home/">10 Essential Things to Do Before Selling Your Home</a> &mdash; Repaint the interior of your house if the walls look dingy or they are unusually bright colors. [Money Crush]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/is-my-child-ready-for-preschool">Is My Child Ready for Preschool?</a> &mdash; Before enrolling, take your child to the preschool so you can see her reaction and how she interacts with the children and teachers. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.northerncheapskate.com/8-ideas-for-frugal-winter-fun/">8 Ideas for Frugal Winter Fun</a> &mdash; Join your kids at the Wii or Xbox for a family gaming night! [Northern Cheapskate]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-learn-these-things-to-get-better-at-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-learn-something-new-every-day">11 Ways to Learn Something New Every Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-learn-from-your-mistakes">How to Learn From Your Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps">You CAN Learn a New Language — Just Use One of These 3 Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-immaturity-can-make-you-happier-and-more-successful">7 Ways Immaturity Can Make You Happier and More Successful</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-didn-t-learn-in-college-but-you-should-have">10 Things You Didn’t Learn in College (but You Should Have)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development best money tips learning Thu, 11 Dec 2014 20:00:09 +0000 Amy Lu 1266971 at http://www.wisebread.com People Who Love Expanding Their Minds Do These 13 Things — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/people-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/people-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/puzzle-cube-86511536-small.jpg" alt="puzzle cube" title="puzzle cube" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are those out there who refuse to let their brain get into a rut. The intellectually stimulated, the cranially curious, the people who love expanding their minds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain?ref=seealso">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a>)</p> <p>Are you one of them? If so, you just may engage in one or more of these 13 pursuits on a daily basis.</p> <h2>1. Doing Puzzles</h2> <p>Whatever their favorite sort of puzzle, whether it's a jigsaw puzzle, Sudoku, a crossword, or a logic game, people who love expanding their minds know that <a href="http://www.daisybrains.com/blog/brain-teasers/more-please-why-our-brains-cant-seem-to-get-enough-of-brain-teasers-and-logic-puzzles/">it's good for your brain</a>. You'll learn to concentrate better, have overall higher brain activity, remember better, and have improved sleep. Puzzles can also be quite a lot of fun, so solving them won't feel like work. Instead, you'll be helping your mind and having fun at the same time.</p> <h2>2. Writing by Hand</h2> <p>If you value expanding your mind, chances are you value having a lot of creative ideas and being able to communicate them to others. As it turns out, people who write out their thoughts and ideas on an actual piece of paper, not a computer screen, <a href="http://www.rd.com/advice/parenting/why-handwriting-makes-you-smarter/">have more active minds and express more ideas</a> than people who only type. Try writing by hand for a few minutes every day, and see what changes you notice.</p> <h2>3. Learning Math</h2> <p>Math may not be your favorite, but people who want to expand their minds know that if you want your brain to fluidly process letters and numbers and to have greater facility in your first language and others, you should <a href="http://healthland.time.com/2013/04/23/your-brain-on-math/">spend some time studying math</a>. It turns out that the areas of your brain that understand mathematical concepts and process numbers are related to the areas that do these other things, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-useful-genius-math-tricks-that-are-actually-easy?ref=seealso">11 Genius Math Tricks That Are Actually Easy</a>)</p> <h2>4. Exercising</h2> <p>Exercise doesn't just make us happier, it makes our brains work better. People who love expanding their minds know that they are better at <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/belle-beth-cooper/10-surprising-things-that-benefit-our-brains_b_4275770.html">focusing, solving problems, and even reasoning after they have exercised</a>. While it can take a lot of energy to get off the couch and out the door, even a quick walk boosts the brain's overall performance.</p> <h2>5. Studying a New Language</h2> <p>Learning a new language literally <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008082953.htm">makes your brain grow</a>. Sure, language learning can be hard work. But it's so good for your brain, and it helps your mind learn to make new connections, too, so fans of expanding the mind will put in the effort.</p> <p>When your brain makes new connections you will become more creative, and you'll be able to communicate with a greater portion of the world. You can even study online, with <a href="https://www.duolingo.com/">Duolingo</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps">other resources</a>. There's not much more fun than taking a trip to a place where you know the language because you've studied hard. Maybe you can set a vacation as a goal after all your study!</p> <h2>6. Reading Novels</h2> <p>Reading a novel seems to raise the connectivity in your brain and cause other positive neurological changes <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/brain-function-boosted-for-days-after-reading-a-novel-9028302.html">for up to five days after you finish</a> your book. Anyone who loves expanding their mind could tell you that if you'd like your brain to work smoother and more efficiently, pick up your favorite page-turner. You don't have to read a classic work or anything like that. In fact, it seems like the important factor is that the book is written well enough that you feel you're in the main character's place.</p> <h2>7. Practicing Meditation</h2> <p>Meditation can help <a href="http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12793/how-meditation-changes-your-brain-a-neuroscientist-explains.html">enhance your brain function</a> in areas that tie to learning, memory, taking different perspectives, regulating your emotions, and more. People who want to expand their minds know that, if you want your mind to work better, it's worthwhile to learn meditation.</p> <p>It's easy to be intimidated by the prospect of meditating. We tend to think that it is something that gurus do, or only enlightened people. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be hard at all. There are many <a href="http://tinybuddha.com/blog/8-ways-to-make-meditation-easy-and-fun/">easy ways to incorporate meditation</a> into your busy daily life.</p> <h2>8. Playing Board Games</h2> <p>People who grow their minds often play board games. <a href="http://examinedexistence.com/can-playing-games-make-you-smarter/">Different games have different benefits</a>, but overall you can improve your linguistic intelligence, improve your math and reasoning skills, improve how you negotiate and work with people, and improve your critical thinking. Try a lot of different games, and you could greatly improve your brain's capacity to work on a lot of different levels.</p> <h2>9. Listening to Music</h2> <p>Listening to music has <a href="http://greatist.com/happiness/unexpected-health-benefits-music">all sorts of benefits</a>, but notable among these is that it improves cognitive functioning, eases stress, and helps you perform better in difficult situations. And people who want better functioning brains know that it's easy, too &mdash; just play music from your phone in the car or carry headphones if you commute by transit.</p> <p>Expand your mind even more by listening to music that isn't familiar to you. Do this with someone who loves the music and understands it, so you can ask questions about what you're hearing and have them help you understand it. This will help you in taking on new and different perspectives, too.</p> <h2>10. Reading Poetry</h2> <p>Poetry can be intimidating. It only takes one bad memory from high school English class to put you off it for a long, long time. However, people who want better brains make the effort anyway, because <a href="http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/11/the-benefits-of-poetry-for-pro/">reading poems expands your mind</a> in some interesting and important ways. To understand most poems, you have to be able to look at things as both simple and complex. It also enhances the parts of your brain that think empathically, and help you become more creative, because it teaches you how to make connections between seemingly unrelated things.</p> <h2>11. Overcoming Fears</h2> <p>When you're afraid of something, you shut yourself off to that thing and anything that might lead to it or spring from it. For instance, if you're afraid of flying, it's easy to become shut off from travel and everything you can learn by doing that. You never get to experience new cultures, new foods, or the different perspectives that people in other cultures have. When you overcome your fears, you open yourself not only to the thing you're afraid of, but to everything that comes with that, too.</p> <p>Overcoming fears can be hard work, especially if they are deeply entrenched, but people who love expanding their minds love the benefits they reap when they make the effort. It will help you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-techniques-that-can-help-you-conquer-any-fear">identify what you're afraid of</a> and where that fear comes from. However, you may need to work with a therapist to overcome particularly difficult fears.</p> <h2>12. Mind Mapping&hellip; Anything</h2> <p>When you make a mind map, you're giving your mind free range, at least within certain parameters. A mind map is basically a way of organizing information visually. You put your main idea in the center, then draw lines to show how it connects to other ideas. This can be as complicated of as simple as it needs to be to help you think.</p> <p>It can also help you see the connections between different ideas, and possibly between things that you might never have connected otherwise. Proponents of mind mapping for brain expansion say that <a href="http://www.edudemic.com/benefits-of-mind-mapping/">it helps them</a> understand their problems and solutions, organize their thoughts, make these new connections, and communicate with other people.</p> <h2>13. Getting Some Sleep</h2> <p>People who love expanding their minds know that getting plenty of sleep cannot possibly be overrated. They may not always want to go to bed on time, but they know one simple fact: when you sleep, <a href="http://www.helpguide.org/life/improving_memory.htm">your mind works better</a>. You learn better and recall what you've learned faster and easier. In fact, you may not be able to expand your mind in the other ways mentioned on this list if you're not getting enough sleep.</p> <p>While <a href="http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need">there's not a magic number</a> of hours of sleep that will work for everyone, it's good to aim for 7-9 hours every night. Use some trial and error and commit to figuring out what works for you, and your brain will be better off.</p> <p><em>How do you expand your mind? How do you fit it into your busy schedule?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/people-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps">You CAN Learn a New Language — Just Use One of These 3 Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too">11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-learning-how-to-admit-youre-wrong">Change Your Life by Learning How to Admit You&#039;re Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Personal Development brains intelligence learning smarts Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:00:07 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1231186 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways Immaturity Can Make You Happier and More Successful http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-immaturity-can-make-you-happier-and-more-successful <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-immaturity-can-make-you-happier-and-more-successful" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/father-son-playing-103577116-small.jpg" alt="father son playing" title="father son playing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="153" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Imagine what it would be like if life was a grand adventure and you were an intrepid explorer. For children, this is life every day. By their very nature, kids approach the world with genuine curiosity and are able to delight in the possibilities of what's waiting just over the horizon. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-a-more-positive-person?ref=seealso">How to Be a More Positive Person</a>)</p> <p>Sometimes, though, the older we get, the easier it becomes to lose some of that untamed spirit. The horizon can seems further and further away. If it's time for you to break free of the monotony of adulthood and rekindle some of the magic of youth, start with these essential lessons from childhood.</p> <h2>Embrace Endless, Wild Optimism</h2> <p>Children see only the possibilities, not the probabilities. Kids daydream about the most fantastic ways the impossible might come true. Their imaginations joyfully pursue the next good idea even before they know what to do with it. Adults can take lesson from this: Learn to stop dwelling on the reasons something can't happen. Instead, change your focus and explore the possibilities of what <em>can</em> happen.</p> <h2>Cultivate Curiosity</h2> <p>It's easy for adults to lose patience with a youngster's endless line of questioning. But instead of being annoyed, try emulating that strategy and staying curious yourself.</p> <p>Eleanor Roosevelt said, &quot;I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.&quot; I wholeheartedly agree. Being more curious means opening up to the possibility that there's more to life than meets the eye.</p> <p>Cultivate curiosity by learning a new skill, traveling, or getting to know people on a deeper level by asking more questions &mdash; it can only expand your world.</p> <h2>Get Creative</h2> <p>Children don't care if they color between the lines or make the sky plaid and the grass pink. They use arts and crafts as a ready outlet for their wild creative impulses. You don't have to be a trained artist to doodle on paper or paint with your fingers. Get the whole family involved in simple <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-kids-diy-projects-in-your-pantry">at-home DIY craft projects</a>. And if you feel like you need an art lesson, ask your children to <a href="http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2014/02/easy-finger-paint-recipe.html">mix up some finger paint</a> with you and then show you how it's done!</p> <h2>Be Fearless</h2> <p>Have you ever noticed that kids are willing to try out their ideas without hesitation (even if it results in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich crammed into a place it clearly doesn't belong)?</p> <p>Adults tend to travel in less fanciful circles because we're less willing to risk failure. Fortunately, most grown-ups also have better planning skills than children. We can prepare for risk-taking in ways that reduce the possibility of unpleasant (or sticky) outcomes. So, consider new ways to step out of your comfort zone and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-things-that-scare-you">do the things that scare you</a>. Put your adult planning skills to good use and start taking some risks on the things that matter to you most.</p> <h2>Play With Abandon</h2> <p>For kids, fun is still synonymous with fitness. They don't bother to count reps when they're engaged in endless rounds of kickball. They don't need to stare at the clock on an exercise bike when their real bike takes them to faraway places. They don't need the gym because every day is a calorie-burning, strength-building, circuit training challenge! Kids know what fitness experts having been trying to tell adults for years. The best way to get in shape is to make physical activity a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-make-exercise-more-fun">fun part</a> of your everyday experience.</p> <h2>Say What You Mean</h2> <p>Kids really do say the darnedest things, don't they? That's because they're telling us what they really think. Adults, on the other hand, have well-crafted filters and we feel virtuous for &quot;holding our tongue.&quot;</p> <p>Sometimes having a filter can help diffuse a situation, but at other times, filters holds us back from having conversations that really count. Wouldn't it be great to tell your significant other just how much you love and appreciate them? Or set some more reasonable limits on what is expected of you at work? One of the most empowering lessons we adults can learn is the art of gracefully saying what we mean.</p> <h2>Laugh &mdash; and Cry &mdash; Out Loud</h2> <p>Children proudly wear their hearts on their sleeves. When something strikes them as funny, they light up the room with their laughter. If things get too monotonous, they'll spice things up with their own brand of slapstick. And if they're hurting, kids don't hesitate to ask for a kiss to make it better. But somewhere on the winding road from childhood to adulthood, we stop sharing our feelings and put on thick masks to hide how really feel. Adults can benefit from shedding those masks when the occasion calls for it and being willing to share more laughter, as well as tears.</p> <p>Every lesson adults can learn from kids boils down to this: Let go of some of your fear. Kids don't have the same quality or quantity of fear that adults do &mdash; and that intrepid nature keeps them learning, growing, and discovering something new every day. As adults, if you want to be healthier, happier, and have better relationships, all you really have to fear is fear itself. So go ahead, channel that bold little explorer you used to be, the one who looked under rocks, played with worms, climbed trees, wore cowboy boots with sweatpants, and imagined new worlds.</p> <p><em>What lessons have you learned or relearned from the children in your life? What's the most important childhood quality you've been able to preserve in yourself or own kids?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-immaturity-can-make-you-happier-and-more-successful">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-basic-manners-you-must-teach-your-kids">10 Basic Manners You Must Teach Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-financial-gifts-to-give-your-kids-this-year">6 Smart Financial Gifts to Give Your Kids This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-prepare-your-kids-to-live-on-their-own">How to Prepare Your Kids to Live On Their Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists">Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Personal Development children kid lessons learning self improvement Mon, 23 Jun 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Kentin Waits 1145814 at http://www.wisebread.com You CAN Learn a New Language — Just Use One of These 3 Apps http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/languages-186007356.jpg" alt="languages" title="languages" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Learning a new language used to mean taking years of classes in high school. When you graduated, you knew enough Spanish, French, or German to buy a sandwich, find a bathroom, or ask if anyone speaks English &mdash; should you travel to another country. Learning a new language outside of school meant buying expensive CD sets that you listen to while you were driving or sitting around your home. You could go at your own pace but didn't have anyone to converse with or practice your new skills. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-learn-a-language?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Learn a Language</a>)</p> <p>Thanks to the growth in technology and the development of language learning apps, you can acquire new language skills in a short amount of time and from the comfort of anywhere. Great apps can range from free to a small monthly fee to the purchase of a $25 app. The best apps offer a range of features for various learning preferences. Here are three great ones to consider.</p> <h2>Duolingo</h2> <p><a href="http://www.duolingo.com">Duolingo</a> is a free app available for IOS and Android devices. It is an easy-to-use program that will leave you feeling successful after the first lesson and has been highly regarded as one of the best language learning models available. One independent research study found that Duolingo works as well as one semester of college level language classes in just 34 hours of time on the app. Imagine spending one hour a day for one month working on learning a language and acquiring the same skills you would have had you paid thousands of dollars and many weeks attending a university course! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learning-without-the-high-cost-of-higher-education?ref=seealso">Learning Without the High Cost of Higher Ed</a>)</p> <p>Duolingo works by asking its language learners to translate real sentences that have been uploaded to their software. Users can vote on whether translations are correct. Once a document is fully translated, the one who uploaded it pays Duolingo. This keeps it free for the language learner.</p> <p>Lessons are broken up into small chunks which offer repeated practice of the same five or six words in isolation, in phrases, and in complete sentences. It pairs audio and text to teach you the phrases and then uses your microphone to verify your pronunciation. There are a number of languages available to learn but not as many as other apps. (Available at this time are Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese.) The app has a simple layout and is easy to navigate. (A friend's child was learning Spanish within seconds of loading the app onto a phone, making it worth a download by everyone.)</p> <h2>Memrise</h2> <p>Another free app that is available on both IOS and Android devices is <a href="http://www.memrise.com">Memrise</a>. This app allows users to learn all of the languages that Duolingo does plus Russian, Japanese, Arabic, and many more. (There is a premium feature in the works that may change what is free and what is not in the future.)</p> <p>Memrise provides a combination of text, audio, and pictures to help you learn words and phrases. It offers the learner repeated exposure with the same phrase, which may or may not feel repetitive to a user. There is an option to listen to a phrase as many times as you need to hear and practice pronouncing it.</p> <p>One unique feature of Memrise is that it doesn't focus solely on language learning. You can use the lessons to learn about classical works of art, geography, science, or entertainment. Using the science behind how the brain learns, Memrise offers short, easy-to-complete lessons, repeated practice, and regular review to ensure that you have learned the information for good. It should definitely be used if you are looking to acquire a new language or learn something new about the world. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-learn-something-new-every-day?ref=seealso">Learn Something New Every Day</a>)</p> <h2>Anki</h2> <p><a href="http://ankisrs.net/index.html">Anki</a> is a free desktop program that you can download to your computer. It uses a flashcard model to help you remember languages and other information. Anki has developed software that incorporates active recall testing (asking you questions just after you learned the information rather than waiting a period of time to ask) and spaced repetition (spreading out review of the information over time). The combination of the two means you are answering questions about the information you just learned and then answering questions on that same answer over time. For example, you may be reviewing the same information every day for three days. If you get it right every time, then you will start reviewing it every week. As you continue to answer correctly, the review questions are spaced out further and further apart.</p> <p>Anki takes time to master. You are not going to be diving into lessons immediately upon download. However, there is a large community that is developing and sharing flashcards for you to use. If you are trying to learn a common language, you may be able to use a &quot;deck&quot; (what Anki calls a set of flashcards) that someone else has already developed. If you are trying to learn something rare, you may have to create your own deck, which can take a lot of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier?ref=seealso">10 Great Self-Improvement Apps</a>)</p> <p>Anki is available for use with Android devices for free, but the IOS app is $24.99. Many users find this a small price to pay for mastering a language.</p> <h2>Other Options</h2> <p>If these three apps do not meet your needs, check out <a href="http://www.lingq.com/">LingQ</a> and <a href="http://www.busuu.com/enc/">Busuu</a>. Both apps have free lessons available but require a purchase (or monthly fee) to progress beyond that. They are worth checking out if you are serious about learning a new language and don't mind investing money in the process.</p> <p>Whether you are hoping to brush up on what you learned in high school, looking to travel in the future, or need to master a new language, any of the apps mentioned here will bring you closer to your goal.</p> <p><em>Have you tried a master a new language? What worked for you?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fyou-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FYou%2520CAN%2520Learn%2520a%2520New%2520Language%2520%25E2%2580%2594%2520Just%2520Use%2520One%2520of%2520These%25203%2520Apps.jpg&amp;description=You%20CAN%20Learn%20a%20New%20Language%20%E2%80%94%20Just%20Use%20One%20of%20These%203%20Apps"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/You%20CAN%20Learn%20a%20New%20Language%20%E2%80%94%20Just%20Use%20One%20of%20These%203%20Apps.jpg" alt="You CAN Learn a New Language &mdash; Just Use One of These 3 Apps" width="250" height="374" /></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/people-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you">People Who Love Expanding Their Minds Do These 13 Things — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money">6 Dumb Places You’re Leaving Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Personal Development apps language learn a language learning smartphone apps Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:48:24 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1136592 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ways to Learn Something New Every Day http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-learn-something-new-every-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-to-learn-something-new-every-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thinking-181605358.jpg" alt="thinking" title="thinking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A while back, I wrote about the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter">benefits of improving your memory</a>, and I did so for a very specific reason: My mother is in the beginning stages of dementia and I've been looking for ways to slow it down and potentially even reverse its effects.</p> <p>What I found is that in addition to nutrition, exercise, and practiced recall, learning new things is a key component to combating this disease. And in the process of ensuring my mom had plenty of opportunities to expand her horizons, I discovered something else. Learning new things had a notable and positive effect on me as well.</p> <p>For starters, I felt smarter, and not just in the sense that I knew something I hadn't known before. I realized I was starting to see things more clearly. I was able to connect the dots faster and process and evaluate information more efficiently. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-natural-and-effective-ways-to-change-your-brain-chemistry-and-be-happier?ref=seealso">Ways to Change Your Brain Chemistry and Be Happier</a>)</p> <p>I also noticed that my recall was better, as well as my focus. I didn't have to wait for things to &quot;come back to me&quot; as I had done so often in the past and that aggravating little habit of walking into a room and forgetting why I was there seemed to be occurring less and less.</p> <p>So, with the benefits of broadening your mental horizons covered, let's talk about some of the many ways you can incorporate learning into your day-to-day life.</p> <h2>1. Go Back to School</h2> <p>Obviously, enrolling in school would ensure a steady stream of new things to learn and truth be told, getting a degree is most definitely on my to-do list. But if, like me, money and time don't allow that commitment right now, there are other ways to tackle a new subject. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-on-college-tuition?ref=seealso">Ways to Save on Tuition</a>)</p> <p>Sites like <a href="http://coursera.org">Coursera</a> and <a href="http://edx.org">EdX</a> offer classes on everything from math and foreign languages to cryptography, quantum physics, and the art of arguing. Classes are free &mdash; read that again, FREE &mdash; and completely online, and they're taught by professors from some of the top universities around the world. It is the future of education.</p> <p>And for those with an interest specifically in programming, there's <a href="http://www.codecademy.com/">CodeAcademy</a>. Here, you can learn everything from basic HTML and CSS to PHP, Ruby, and lots more. Like Coursera and EdX, it's completely free and completely online. It's also self-paced, so you can easily integrate it into your busy schedule.</p> <h2>2. TED Talks</h2> <p>If you haven't watched a <a href="https://www.ted.com/talks">TED Talk</a> yet, you don't know what you're missing. These live seminars have been recorded for your convenience, but they go much deeper than what you might expect a seminar to do. TED Talks cover topics that everyone is thinking about, but often have trouble discussing. These are the conversations that make you say &quot;Hmmm&quot; and create new perspectives and ideas in the process.</p> <p>TED Talks cover the gamut from global issues to technology to entertainment and you can even sort by whether you want to be amazed, inspired or have your funny bone tickled. And yes, they're free as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new?ref=seealso">Free Ways to Learn Something New</a>)</p> <h2>3. The History Channel</h2> <p>I don't know about you, but I'm hooked on the History Channel &mdash; more specifically H2 &mdash; and for multiple reasons. I can learn about ancient ruins and mysterious landmarks in &quot;America Unearthed,&quot; get a taste of quantum physics in &quot;The Universe,&quot; and discover why I think the way I think in &quot;Your Bleeped Up Brain.&quot;</p> <p>H2 offers a variety of educational shows that explore everything from secret societies to possible alien visitations to how salt helped shape our history and cultivate society. If you've ever wished you knew more about obscure or unusual topics, this is the channel for you.</p> <h2>4. Learn a Language</h2> <p>Imagine being able to talk to anyone. Imagine speaking the language no matter where you are. That's a possibility when you <a href="http://duolingo.com">Duolingo</a>.</p> <p>Now, I know I've written about this nifty little tool before, but it seems appropriate to sing its praises again here. Duolingo is free and offers both a web-based version as well as a handy app for your smartphone.</p> <p>That means that learning Spanish, French, Italian, German, or even Portuguese is well within your grasp. And because the platform has you writing, speaking, and reading the language you're learning, you'll retain more in a shorter amount of time.</p> <p><em>C'est bête comme chou. </em></p> <h2>5. Read</h2> <p>I'm an avid reader, and I still love that feeling I get when the light bulb goes off and something I've read sparks new understanding. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-books-little-libraries-that-build-community-and-save-you-money?ref=seealso">Build Community and Save Money With Books</a>)</p> <p>Reading opens doors that were previously closed. It introduces you to new places, new ideas, and new topics that you may not have previously known much about. Reading can take you to a far away, make-believe land or immerse you in a steamy romance, but it can also enlighten, empower, and educate.</p> <p>Start with some of the classics &mdash; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553213113/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553213113&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Moby Dick</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1416548947/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1416548947&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Gone With the Wind</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0486406512/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0486406512&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">A Tale of Two Cities</a> &mdash; or visit your local library and see what's on the New Releases shelf. If you have an Amazon account, start paying attention to their &quot;Recommended For You Section&quot; because they'll help you find new books to read based on previous purchases and searches.</p> <p>If carting around books isn't your style, then consider reading in digital format. We're all familiar with <a href="https://kindle.amazon.com/">Kindle</a>, but there are other ways to get your books online. <a href="http://www.gutenberg.org/">Project Gutenberg</a> boasts tens of thousands of ebooks, all from legitimate publishers that are now in the public domain, available for download or online perusal.</p> <p><a href="https://dailylit.com/">DailyLit</a> on the other hand, will send books to you in installments, allowing you to read in short, pre-scheduled segments.</p> <h2>6. Do Your Own Repairs</h2> <p>There is a certain sense of pride and accomplishment when you discover you can handle something on your own, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to tackle all those little repairs and restores around your house. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-plumbing-repairs-that-dont-require-a-plumber?ref=seealso">10 Plumbing Repairs You Can Do Yourself</a>)</p> <p>Most recently, for example, I replaced the washers inside my kitchen faucet. I turned it on one morning and discovered a leak, which left me with two choices: I could fix it myself or wait for hubby to come home.</p> <p>Thinking &quot;how hard could it be?&quot; I went with option #1, and you'd be amazed at what you can do with tutorials on YouTube. I went to the hardware store, knowing exactly what parts I needed and then rummaged through my husband's toolbox to find the correct tools for the job. Step-by-step &mdash; and with a few rewinds and playbacks &mdash; I repaired that faucet. Just me and the guy on YouTube. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-home-improvement-10-free-options-for-training-and-advice?ref=seealso">Free DIY Home Improvement Training and Advice</a>)</p> <p>By the time hubby got home, the leak was fixed and I had learned something new.</p> <h2>7. Read the News</h2> <p>Back during my corporate days, I worked with a woman who could talk about anything &mdash; literally, anything. Foreign affairs, the economy, politics, finance, you name it&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash;</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">&nbsp;she had enough information to hold her own in a conversation.</span></p> <p>She had this gift because she paid attention to what was going on in the world around her. She read multiple newspapers and tuned into to an equal number of news shows. She was well-informed, and as a result, she didn't have an opinion that she couldn't thoroughly back up.</p> <p>Of course, the news is only as good as the source providing it. T<span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">ry finding some solid, non-partisan news sites that strictly report the facts without letting personal motives or beliefs cloud the story. I realize that's not easy these days, but there are still a few sites that do a fairly decent job of reporting only the news. BBC is one, and Reuters and Al Jazeera are good as well. If you have trouble finding sites that you think fit the bill, then at least get your news from a variety of sources, so that you're more likely to get the bigger picture.</span></p> <h2>8. iTunes</h2> <p>I'm currently studying Archeology at Stanford, Astronomy at Oxford, and Philosophy at Yale. How am I doing that? I'm downloading free lectures and courses through iTunes.</p> <p><a href="http://www.apple.com/education/ipad/itunes-u/">iTunes University</a> has grown into quite the extravagant learning tool, so much so that it now has its own section in the iTunes store and its own app as well. Learn languages and sciences, math and history, or delve into the not-so-traditional subjects such as Darwinism, spirituality, and consciousness.</p> <p>And you can do it at your own pace, in your own time.</p> <h2>9. Subscribe to Wikipedia</h2> <p>Did you know that Wikipedia will send you a new &quot;featured&quot; article every single day, right to your email? It's their <a href="https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/daily-article-l">Daily Article Mailing List</a> and it ensures you'll receive something new to read at least once a day. In January for example, you would have read about the constellation Phoenix, the 1939 film Gagak Item, and the American pioneer John Adair.</p> <p>How's that for a broad wealth of knowledge delivered right to your desktop?</p> <h2>10. Expand Your Vocabulary</h2> <p>Remember those word-a-day calendars that we all used to have sitting on our desks? That's where I learned that there are a &quot;plethora&quot; of words that I have yet to use and I should take steps to remedy this lest I want to suffer the &quot;ignominy&quot; of having a limited vocabulary.</p> <p>See how fun that is?</p> <p>Now, all you have to do is subscribe to <a href="http://wordsmith.org/awad/subscribe.html">Word a Day</a> and you'll never have to worry about keeping up with your calendar again.</p> <h2>11. Help Your Kids With Their Homework</h2> <p>If you have school-aged children &mdash; and if you've been out of school for a while &mdash; try helping them with their homework. You might discover you're not smarter than a 5th grader after all.</p> <p>The math they're teaching now is much more advanced than the math they were teaching some (inaudible) years ago when I was in school, and I was both shocked and embarrassed to discover that I needed help to help my kids do their homework. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-places-to-buy-or-rent-textbooks?ref=seealso">20 Places to Buy or Rent Textbooks</a>)</p> <p>But isn't that exactly what the Internet is for?</p> <p>Homework has now turned into an opportunity to learn more about what my kids are working on in school, to reinforce the new concepts and ideas they're being taught and to spend just a little more time with them before they bounce off to play with their friends or zone out on Xbox.</p> <p>I mean, nothing says quality family time like factoring prime numbers or dissecting sentences.</p> <p><em>So, there you have it, my short list for bringing more learning into your life. Now it's your turn. How do you exercise your mind?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F11-ways-to-learn-something-new-every-day&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F11%2520Ways%2520to%2520Learn%2520Something%2520New%2520Every%2520Day.jpg&amp;description=11%20Ways%20to%20Learn%20Something%20New%20Every%20Day"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/11%20Ways%20to%20Learn%20Something%20New%20Every%20Day.jpg" alt="11 Ways to Learn Something New Every Day" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-learn-something-new-every-day">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-learn-from-your-mistakes">How to Learn From Your Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-didn-t-learn-in-college-but-you-should-have">10 Things You Didn’t Learn in College (but You Should Have)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps">You CAN Learn a New Language — Just Use One of These 3 Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-invest-in-yourself">Great Ways to Invest in Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-immaturity-can-make-you-happier-and-more-successful">7 Ways Immaturity Can Make You Happier and More Successful</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development free education free learning learning memory Thu, 13 Mar 2014 12:33:00 +0000 Kate Luther 1130215 at http://www.wisebread.com